Tatjana+ Light & Interior Workshop

Image

Zdravko and Tatjana Kostanjevec started their workshop in 1990. The origins of the business are in Zdravko’s original, small workshop he first ran in Slovenia, and decided to move to Serbia after the breakup of former Yugoslavia, where he restarted the workshop together with his wife Tatjana, operating from within their home kitchen, already working on bigger projects prior to moving to its current location. The plus in the company name was referring to their sons, both of whom are now based in USA and have pursued different professions. Thus, they expect that the story of this craft in the family will resume with the two of them as the final chapter.
Zdravko was educated at an electrical engineering high school, and invests lots of creativity and enthusiasm into developing products, while Tatjana joined him as business support. Tatjana used to be a representative of a Croatian company Dekor, factory for manufacturing interior lights, while Zdravko worked for another Slovenian company. The first workshop of their own was in Ptuj, in Slovenia. They were pioneers applying built in halogen lights into ceiling or walls (for example at the first McDonalds restaurant in Belgrade).
Overall, they are very happy with the work they have been doing, and feel committed to the craft. The number of employees varies: they used to have as many as 18 employees, while currently they work with only a couple of people. They believe that there is still interest for ori-
ginal, well-designed and high-quality lighting, and if it were otherwise, cheap Chinese products would have taken over the market completely by now. They are proud to say that they were always up for the challenge of taking on tough jobs that others would not, which usually involved lots of experimenting or developing entirely new products based on original drawings of the architects they are working with. They love collaborating with Vesna Pejović and Studio AUTORI, who develop detailed drawings for them, and the results are always exquisite. On the other hand, they are noticing that most professionals tend to refer to catalogues of established international companies and try to emulate the forms they find there.
They feel that the biggest work is behind them and they do not plan to compete for big jobs. They actually still run the business because they enjoy making nice and well-made lightning. They started selling some of the larger tools to other workshops, but usually make an arrangement for co-sharing in case of any future jobs. They have always worked according to
their needs, so the biggest production was at the time when their children were growing up. They are happier with a smaller production because it brings less stress and, in a way, higher income. Ultimately, the freedom to even refuse jobs if they feel it is the right thing to do, is something they value the most at this point in life and professional career.

The origins of the business are in Zdravko’s original, small workshop he first ran in Slovenia, and decided to move to Serbia after the breakup of former Yugoslavia, where he restarted the workshop together with his wife Tatjana, operating from within their home kitchen, already working on bigger projects prior to moving to its current location.

The workshop is 170 m². It used to be a car mechanic’s shop, but they extended the facilities more than once to accommodate new machines and workplaces. It is a dynamic metal workshop with all of the necessary heavy machinery, assembly room and a colouring chamber, as well as a mini showroom where you can discuss design details with Zdravko. Still, some of the phases are occasionally outsourced to partnering workshops.

The mostly rely on decapitated metal sheets as the base material, as well as aluminum tubes, prochrome, chrome, brass, copper. Most of the materials are local.
The technique is in most cases based on processing metal bars and poles, and this is mostly done on their own lathe. They also use different sorts of presses, to flatten, bend or cut out the metal. They can do many things in-house, as well as all finishing touches.
The time needed to complete a product also depends on the investor and his timeline. Sometimes it can be two days, sometimes a week. They can also do lamination in-house, as well as powder coating, so they do not rely that much on outside help. It is usually hardest to complete the first piece in the series, after which production is organised and rationalised, always with a dose of improvisation.

The main products are lamps of different kinds. They do a lot of custom orders, from single, uni-que pieces, to working with architectural studios on interior projects, which may be anything from an apartment, restaurant or an entire hotel. They never develop their own product catalogue, but always work on demand. Each piece is unique and was handled by hand. Some of their main clients are store chains, like the bakeries Hleb&Kifle, cosmetic shops Lilly or fashion outlet Extremo, which keeps the busy at all times.